Frank Boddy: Ripley Castle
For the novice gun, what to wear on a shoot can be a daunting prospect, with much margin for costly errors. Feeling ill dressed can take the edge of what should be a wonderful day. Cordings posed this question (and a few others) to a gentleman who should know the answer: Frank Boddy. Frank has been Shoot Captain of Ripley Castle Shoot since 1995, and has seen every kind of weather imaginable, whilst managing one of Britain’s finest shoots.
Frank Boddy – Shoot Captain Ripley Castle
Q. How would you best describe the outfit you need for your day?
A. The day falls neatly into two parts, breakfast and lunch where a smarter look is needed and the actual shoot element where the key is to dress comfortably and with the weather in mind.
Q. what would you suggest for the breakfast and lunch?
A. A shooting suit comprising of a tweed jacket, waistcoat and breeks, plus a shirt and tie are ideal at this point.
Q. And for the actual shoot?
A. The first thing to remember is that you can always take off layers if you are too warm, but nothing can ruin a day in the field quite like being cold or wet. We often find that the weather can be a few degrees colder on the moor, and British weather is notoriously changeable. I think that breeks, shooting stockings and boots are perfect for your lower half. I will often shoot in a shooting waistcoat over a light pull over, and then take a lightweight waterproof garment that I can put on if the weather is inclement. Ease of movement is key so I favour adding a layer rather than wearing a heavy coat, however many guns rely on a robust field coat that they wear over lighter garments.
Q. What are your key items?
A. Good stout boots that fit, gloves, a good cap and comfortable shooting socks. It is too easy to forget these accessory items and they are essential.
Q. Have you noticed a change in what people wear over the years? What do you feel is a no-no in the field?
A. Sadly I have noticed fewer guns are wearing a shooting suit, and I feel it is a mark of respect to our quarry that we dress well; I encourage guns to wear a tie. One gentleman appeared for a corporate day resplendent in tracksuit bottoms and trainers, but thankfully his team mates were able to kit him out in more suitable attire!
Q. Any other tips?
A. Pale colours on grouse moors are a mistake. Grouse can see us much more clearly than we see them. Pale shirts, white or blonde hair and dare I say it, white vehicles stand out in the landscape.
Q. What are your thoughts on lady guns?
A. I welcome the increase in the number of ladies in the line, and I always say ‘never under estimate a lady shot’, I find that the ladies always listen to their instructors. Our ladies days are great fun, with camaraderie and pink champagne flowing! A tweed suit for ladies such as your Wincanton jacket and breeks is a great outfit for the day, with a lightweight waterproof in case of inclement weather.
Q. How else can a novice gun prepare for the day?
A. Clay shooting lessons with an instructor are a good way of becoming familiar with the gun. If you are able on your first shoot to bring an instructor with a variety of guns you will have a chance to compare and contrast and get a feel for what you like. Finally, don’t get tempted to stay up till 3.00 am with the experienced guns in the bar. Get a good night’s sleep so you can really enjoy the day, which is the most important thing!
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